meaningful in insignificance

This is an insignificant evening. There are no reporters present. No cameras. No journalists. We are in a small room. A small gathering. An absolutely perfectly imperfect insignificant night, and that’s just it.

An evening like this really means everything to all of us. An evening like this is more important than all those long hours we spent immersed in whatever project that has come and gone and no one even remembers. An insignificant gathering like this is far more meaningful than thousands and thousands of nameless faces screaming our name, or chanting our praise.

I know that we would love that. That we dream of those significant, practical, realistic things that will give us peace and security, but the fact is they won’t. Your big house will one day be somebody else’s. That treasured piece of art you bought at a artisan market, that is so beautiful, so original, and was so expensive, may one day sit abandoned, banged up, and a little dusty, on the floor of a used goods store.

But it doesn’t matter because the world needs more insignificance. The world needs a little more little things. It doesn’t need hopelessness, or smallness. That doesn’t serve anyone any good, but we have to find the courage deep inside our hearts and seek out the meaning of those things that others pass by and deem insignificant.

Does it matter that you know how to play a few Rolling Stones songs on your old, half abandoned, guitar? Does it matter that you sing those songs half badly, the half tone deaf? Does it really matter? What is more important? Binge watching nine seasons of Walking Dead or obsessing over CNN and the antics of Donald Trump? What’s more important? Those imperfect insignificant songs or the gossip that tears people apart? Or the long hours you spent feeling about yourself and feel like anything you do doesn’t matter.

I think our sense of purpose is a bit out of tune. The weekend should not make up for a treacherous week. An hour on a treadmill should not make up for obsessively stuffing our mouth with delicious tidbits. Our children future should not make  up for a life we refuse to indulge ourselves in. And those insignificant, seemingly meaningless things we love and wish to do, are actually important. They are not only important, they mean everything.


My parents died a few years ago, but it still seems like it was just the other day. We did many things together. Did many things together for many many years, but what I remember the most are the insignificant little things. I remember coming home after work and having my mother and father make me a cup of coffee. It was Turkish coffee. Ground coffee beans at the bottom of a small glass, drowned with hot water, and stirred. And than you wait and watch those little coffee grounds drop to the bottom, but not matter how long you wait, one or two of those suckers, ultimately, and relentlessly gets stuck in your teeth. There is nothing overly sexy or important about this description or the experience, but it absolutely means the world to me. I wish I could have one of those moments. I wish I could have one more of that insignificant thing, that leave me a little empty inside.

But I am not empty, because despite the fact that I cannot go back to those moments. Despite the fact that I miss those moments, I have children and friends and I can choose to create new and never ending moments that are just as insignificant, and just as meaningful.

You need a bit more insignificance in your life as well. You need to let go and a bit more of the things that give you meaning, or at least don’t tear your soul apart.

Find the courage to seek out more insignificance. No one will know. No one will care. No one will remember, but that doesn’t mean they are not worth doing. It doesn’t mean that they are not infinitely more important than all the things everyone else busies their life and destroys their lives over.

Seek the insignificant.

There is lots of it around.

Find the courage.

Live meaningfully.


Toastmasters International Speech | delivered on Monday, October 15, 2018 – Open House – Cobourg


Cover photo generously provided by photographer Marco Secchi via